José Mourinho just the latest casualty in Ed Woodward’s failing regime | Daniel Taylor

Manager did not help himself but the man in charge, the owners and the players at Manchester United have to share the blameIf you ever needed to know what a mess Manchester United have made of replacing Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps we can start with the tragicomedy that there are still 194 days before the six-year contract handed to David Moyes was supposed to lapse. Moyes lasted nine months and, in the process, seemed to age 10 years.Louis van Gaal gave Old Trafford two seasons of drift. And now José Mourinho is history, too – with his lip curled, his bank account swelled by a reputed £15m in severance pay and a very public decline in which he demonstrated that the higher a man climbs the more you see of his backside. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

The Spin | Ed Smith avoids brickbats by proving to be a Test-class England selector | Vic Marks

Former Kent batsman has been a breath of fresh air, challenging traditional thinking and not afraid to give youngsters a chanceChairmen of selectors are a bit like wicketkeepers. We only really notice them when they make terrible mistakes. Yet the incumbent, Ed Smith, has threatened to buck the trend. He has been in the post for nine months yet his appointment has been heralded as a significant reason for England’s resurgence as a Test side.From the start Smith has challenged traditional thinking and by and large this has worked well. Jos Buttler had not played any red-ball cricket for months so how could he possibly be considered for Test matches? But hang on, he is an incredibly gifted cricketer, just think what we might be missing. Adil Rashid had withdrawn from all red-ball cricket. But why not invite him back? There are far greater threats to the integrity of county cricket to be found within the ECB’s own ranks than in the recall of Rashid. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

David Squires on ... José Mourinho's United exit and Southampton's spirit

Our cartoonist on Emo Mourinho’s last stand, festive cheer at St Mary’s and Roy Hodgson cooking up a Crystal Palace winView all of David’s cartoons here Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham boss remains 'focused' despite Man Utd link

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino says he is "focused" on his current job after being asked about the vacant role at Manchester United.

19-12-2018

The Breakdown | England’s dilemma: undermine Eddie Jones or risk scramble for a top coach

Looking for a successor could be a distraction in World Cup year but waiting could mean the talent is snaffled up and Wales and Ireland have already made their moveThe start of the World Cup is nine months away but countries are already thinking about their next coach. Wales are sorted, appointing Wayne Pivac in the summer knowing Warren Gatland would be off after his side’s final match in Japan, as are Ireland, with Andy Farrell to take over from Joe Schmidt.In New Zealand, Steve Hansen is due to announce this evening UK time as to whether he will seek a new contract after the World Cup. Rassie Erasmus has told South Africa he will not be carrying on after Japan, focusing on his director of rugby role instead. Australia’s Michael Cheika may not last that long after taking part in a performance review this month after the Wallabies’ worst year, in terms of results, for 60 years. A decision is expected before Christmas. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Shaqiri, scrambles and Champions League draw thoughts – Football Weekly

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Mark Langdon and Marcus Bean discuss the Champions League draw, dour management, Xherdan Shaqiri’s career revival, goalmouth scrambles and a message for listeners in TogoJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the weekend’s football action, starting with Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester United, which has done something for the Anfield side’s title-challenging credentials, and nothing for José Mourinho’s job prospects. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Jake Hesketh makes Burton Albion history at expense of Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough supporters know better than to underestimate a Clough and, by the end, there was a sense that few on Teesside begrudged Nigel Clough’s achievement in leading League One Burton Albion into the semi-finals.Which is not to say they exempted Tony Pulis or his players from blame on a night when Southampton loanee Jake Hesketh’s fine goal separated the sides and there were sufficient robust boos to suggest Boro’s manager is starting to be seen as more problem than solution. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Liverpool 3-1 Man Utd: Jose Mourinho says Klopp's team were 'stronger, better, faster'

Watch Jose Mourinho's last interview as Manchester United manager as the club announce his departure in his third year at Old Trafford.

19-12-2018

José Mourinho must take the consequences, says Jürgen Klopp

• Klopp has more sympathy for sacked lower league managers• Liverpool beat Manchester United in Mourinho’s last matchJürgen Klopp said he has more sympathy for managers sacked at lower league clubs than José Mourinho and his former Manchester United rival had to “take the consequences” for what unfolded at Old Trafford.The Liverpool manager oversaw a comfortable victory over United on Sunday in what proved to be Mourinho’s final game. He said Mourinho remained an outstanding manager who has “all my respect” for what he has achieved and would not find it difficult to land another top job. For that reason, and perhaps the lucrative pay-off from Old Trafford, Klopp insists he has greater concern for peers sacked at the lower level than a two-times Champions League winner. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Sport on the BBC: Best of this week's TV & radio coverage

This week's sport on the BBC includes the Premier League, the Olympia Horse Show and Australia v India in day four of the second test.

19-12-2018

The Dozen: the weekend's best Premier League photos

Our picture editors select their favourite images from around the grounds Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Shane Flangan deregistered by NRL after breach of suspension

Cronulla coach has until end of January to respondClub fined $800,000, half suspendedCronulla coach Shane Flanagan has been de-registered by the NRL for dealing with the club while suspended in 2014 and the Sharks fined $800,000 – half of which was suspended at the time over their supplements saga.Flanagan and the club have until the end of January to respond to a breach notice, which is when the NRL will make its final determination. Until then Flanagan cannot have any official involvement with the club. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

Sports Personality 2018: Lewis Hamilton 'used wrong words'

Lewis Hamilton says he is "super proud" of hometown Stevenage after his faux pas at the SPOTY awards.

19-12-2018

Hamilton would be world champion in a Mercedes or a Ferrari - Palmer column

In his latest column, former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer looks at the brilliance of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

19-12-2018

Focus on skill and not emotion rewards Tim Paine's new Australia

Australia skittle India’s tail end before lunch on final dayPaine ‘relieved’ to post his first win as captainIt was with just enough of the old and just enough of the new that Tim Paine’s side found the necessary balance to win their first international fixture under his tutelage. Both captains acknowledged the runs made by the hosts at the start of the Test were the biggest input to the result, a base that allowed the Australian attack to swamp their opposition four days later – a business model they made their own for two decades when they were the top of the world.Getting ahead in the game also allowed them to project themselves accordingly, Paine himself taking responsibility for pushing back against the hyperactivity of his opposite number, Virat Kohli, that dominated so much of the colour and movement through the middle days of this Test. When it all came together on the fourth evening and fifth morning in Perth, it was the best sign yet of a welcome thaw in Australia’s long winter. Continue reading...

19-12-2018

The Superclásico final that became too big and too bad for Buenos Aires

For the last five years, Copa90 have been making films about the biggest derbies in the world. Now for the biggestA film by Copa90, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkOn the ground at the Superclásico final in Buenos Aires ... and MadridThe two biggest football clubs in Argentina? The fiercest rivalry in South America? The best derby in the world? Every superlative was used to describe the first ever Superclásico final in the Copa Libertadores. As the eyes of the world turned towards Buenos Aires, our team of filmmakers set off to experience the “final to end all finals” first hand. Everyone expects controversy from this fixture, but no one could have predicted what happened between these two teams over two legs in two continents.First off, Boca’s home tie at La Bombonera. After a biblical rainstorm led to a 24-hour delay, the football gods finally gave the fans the moment they had been waiting for all their lives on Sunday 11 November. The first of the two ties ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw. The away goals rule was not in play, so the tie was perfectly poised before the second leg. Continue reading...

19-12-2018